Broadband Projects Announced Across Greater Minnesota

New state grant funding will leverage an additional $40 million in private and local funding

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced, today, grants totaling $34 million for 42 broadband infrastructure projects that will provide 16,627 households, 2,240 businesses, and 71 community institutions across Minnesota access to reliable, affordable high-speeds internet.

Smith and Gov. Dayton first proposed a $100 million investment during the 2016 Legislative Session, and ended up securing the $34 million for the project.

The new state funding will help level the playing field for households and businesses in Greater Minnesota by providing them access to the same opportunities available to urban-area residents.

“This expansion of broadband that we are announcing today will level the playing field and expand education, health, and job opportunities for thousands of Minnesotans. It’s not fair when almost 20-percent of Great Minnesota households don’t have access to opportunity because they don’t have the same broadband connections as their friends and family in the cities,” said Lt. Governor Smith. “We are fixing this: since we started, $66 million in public investment has been matched by over $81.7 million in private funding. This expansion of broadband has connected doctors to patients, students to school, people to jobs, and farmers and businesses to data and markets around the world. Governor Dayton and I will continue to advocate for high speed, affordable, reliable internet access during the 2017 Legislative Session until everyone is connected.”

Minnesota’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Program provides internet providers grants to expand broadband service to areas of Minnesota that are unserved and underserved. The funding pays for up to 50-percent of the cost of developing broadband for improved high-speed internet in communities across the state.